I’ve moved into a retirement community.
Not permanently — not yet, at least — but my mom, my kids and I are visiting my spectacular grandmother, and her complex lets family members rent designated apartments. It’s lovely to be so close to my grandma instead of at a hotel, and I’m trying to take Albert Camus’s advice for a few days: “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”
Though I’m obviously not privy to his exact thoughts on the matter, I’m fairly certain he meant something a little more isolated than a two-bedroom apartment shared with three other people, two of whom rely on me for the majority of their care and middling amounts of their entertainment. Still, after working online tirelessly through January, even just spending a little under a week in a location without wireless Internet seems like an escape.
Before leaving, I checked items off deadline lists and scoured my calendar for things I might have overlooked the first dozen times I stared down those little boxes riddled with different color ink and streaks of highlighter. Deadlines were met early, if possible, and I vowed to hop online only once or twice a day to promote posts.
January was filled with countless “musts” and “shoulds,” and I fell into February feeling both accomplished and drained. I also felt a bit of a bottleneck, mentally speaking. Between freelance deadlines and blog obligations and inconsequential things like laundry that multiplies like bunnies in the night, my fiction projects have languished. I have notes scribbled on fundraising forms and grocery lists, ideas half-formed that simply need a little time to simmer in a mind not laden with competing projects.
Two short stories sit in the wings of my head. They are so very different from one other, but part of the same dream — the dream of writing stories that take what I know of the world and furl it together with imagination to form something beautifully new and fictional that flows onto the page like silk.
Deadlines and day-to-day tasks are part of the progress I’m working on making this year, but these days away from the world are something else. A new notebook nestles in my bag, my favorite colored pens tucked inside. The white Internet light on my keyboard is red, disconnected from distractions. These five days are about taking my dreams and sinking into them for a bit, letting them take hold and watching them come to life like a mosaic of words pieces together to become something more.
Do you ever need to escape for a few days?